Intel to Produce 10nm ARM Processors

Ian King, Bloomberg:

Intel Corp., the world’s biggest semiconductor maker, said it’s licensing technology from rival ARM Holdings Plc, a move to win more customers for its business that manufactures chips for other companies.

The two chipmakers, whose designs and technology dominate in computing and mobile, unveiled the agreement Tuesday at the Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco. The accord will let Intel offer third-party semiconductor companies its most advanced 10-nanometer production lines for manufacturing the complex chips usually used in smartphones.

That’s some really big news that Apple is no doubt interested in, too. While they design their own SoCs, Apple doesn’t make them — they contract the manufacturing to companies like Samsung and, increasingly, TSMC. However, Apple has shown an interest in reducing their reliance upon Samsung, to the extent that the A10 is rumoured to be exclusively made by TSMC, and the company has repeatedly expressed a desire to bring more of their product manufacturing to the United States.1

Tim Cook at the D10 conference in 2012:

Will there be an Apple product ever made in the U.S.?

I want there to be. This isn’t well known, but the engine for the iPhone and the iPad are built in the U.S., not just for the U.S. but the world. The glass for your iPhone is made in a plant in Kentucky, not just for the U.S. but other markets outside the U.S. so I think there are things that can be done in the U.S., not just for the U.S., but exported for the world.

I’m not sure that the statement about making the A-series chip in the United States — or, as Cook called it, “the engine” — is still accurate, but making things in the U.S. is something Apple is proud to tout when they can. Apple and Intel also have a pretty good business relationship. I wouldn’t be surprised if it expanded to include the A-series as well.

Update: Paul McGrane says that Cook’s comment about building the A-series processors in the U.S. likely refers to Samsung’s Austin factory. Later that year, Samsung invested $4 billion in an expansion of that plant. Rumours are that TSMC is the exclusive manufacturer for both the A10 and A11.

  1. To my knowledge, TSMC has one manufacturing facility in the U.S., while most of Intel’s processors are made in America. ↥︎